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The Complete Works Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies by Plutarch

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time that measures it is also a circle; so the order of things
which are done and happen in a circle may be justly esteemed and
called a circle.

This, therefore, though there should be nothing else, almost shows
us what sort of thing Fate is; but not particularly or in every
respect. What kind of thing then is it in its own form? It is, as
far as one can compare it, like to the civil or politic law.
For first it orders the most part of things at least, if not all,
conditionally; and then it comprises (as far as is possible for it)
all things that belong to the public in general; and the better to
make you understand both the one and the other, we must specify
them by an example. The civil law speaks and ordains in general of
a valiant man, and also of a deserter and a coward; and in the same
manner of others. Now this is not to make the law speak of this or
that man in particular, but principally to propose such things as
are universal or general, and consequently such as fall under them.
For we may very well say, that it is legal to reward this man for
having demeaned himself valiantly, and to punish that man for
flying from his colors; because the law has virtually--though not
in express terms and particularly yet in such general ones as they
are comprehended under,--so determined of them. As the law (if I
may so speak) of physicians and masters of corporal exercises
potentially comprehends particular and special things within the
general; so the law of Nature, determining first and principally
general matters, secondarily and subordinately determines such as
are particular. Thus, general things being decreed by Fate,
particular and individual things may also in some sort be said to
be so, because they are so by consequence with the general.
But perhaps some one of those who more accurately examine and more
subtly search into these things may say, on the contrary, that
particular and individual things precede the composition of general
things, and that the general exist only for the particular, since
that for which another thing is always goes before that which is
for it. Nevertheless, this is not the proper place to treat of
this difficulty, but it is to be remitted to another.
However, that Fate comprehends not all things clearly and
expressly, but only such as are universal and general, let it pass
for resolved on at present, as well for what we have already said a
little before, as for what we shall say hereafter. For that which
is finite and determinate, agreeing properly with divine
Providence, is seen more in universal and general things than in
particular; such therefore is the divine law, and also the civil;
but infinity consists in particulars and individuals.

After this we are to declare what this term "conditionally" means;
for it is to be thought that Fate is also some such thing.
That, then, is said to be conditionally, which is supposed to exist
not of itself or absolutely, but as really dependent upon and
joined to another; which signifies a suit and consequence.
"And this is the sanction of Adrastea (or an inevitable ordinance),
that whatever soul, being an attendant on God, shall see anything
of truth, shall till another revolution be exempt from punishment;
and if it is ever able to do the same, it shall never suffer any
damage." This is said both conditionally and also universally.
Now that Fate is some such thing is clearly manifest, as well from
its substance as from its name. For it is called [Greek omitted]
as being [Greek omitted], that is, dependent and linked; and it is
a sanction or law, because things are therein ordained and disposed
consequentially, as is usual in civil government.

We ought in the next place to consider and treat of mutual relation
and affection; that is, what reference and respect Fate has to
divine Providence, what to Fortune, what also to "that which is in
our power," what to contingent and other such like things;
and furthermore we are to determine, how far and in what it is true
or false that all things happen and are done by and according to
Fate. For if the meaning is, that all things are comprehended and
contained in Fate, it must be granted that this proposition is
true; and if any would farther have it so understood, that all
things which are done amongst men, on earth, and in heaven are
placed in Fate, let this also pass as granted for the present.
But if (as the expression seems rather to imply) the "being done
according to Fate" signifies not all things, but only that which is
a direct consequent of Fate, then it must not be said that all
things happen and are done by and according to Fate, though all
things are so according to Fate as to be comprised in it. For all
things that the law comprehends and of which it speaks are not
legal or according to law; for it comprehends treason, it treats of
the cowardly running away from one's colors in time of battle, of
adultery, and many other such like things, of which it cannot be
said that any one of them is lawful. Neither indeed can I affirm
of the performing a valorous act in war, the killing of a tyrant,
or the doing any other virtuous deed, that it is legal; because
that only is proper to be called legal, which is commanded by the
law. Now if the law commands these things, how can they avoid
being rebels against the law and transgressors of it, who neither
perform valiant feats of arms, kill tyrants, nor do any other such
remarkable acts of virtue? And if they are transgressors of the
law, why is it not just they should be punished? But if this is
not reasonable, it must then be also confessed that these things
are not legal or according to law; but that legal and according to
law is only that which is particularly prescribed and expressly
commanded by the law, in any action whatsoever. In like manner,
those things only are fatal and according to Fate, which are the
consequences of causes preceding in the divine disposition.
So that Fate indeed comprehends all things which are done; yet many
of those things that are comprehended in it, and almost all that
precede, should not (to speak properly) be pronounced to be fatal
or according to Fate.

These things being so, we are next in order to show, how "that
which is in our power" (or free will), Fortune, possible,
contingent, and other like things which are placed among the
antecedent causes, can consist with Fate, and Fate with them;
for Fate, as it seems, comprehends all things, and yet all these
things will not happen by necessity, but every one of them
according to the principle of its nature. Now the nature of the
possible is to presubsist, as the genus, and to go before the
contingent; and the contingent, as the matter and subject, is to be
in the sphere of free will; and our free will ought as a master to
make use of the contingent; and Fortune comes in by the side of
free will, through the property of the contingent of inclining to
either part. Now you will more easily apprehend what has been
said, if you shall consider that everything which is generated, and
the generation itself, is not done without a generative faculty or
power, and the power is not without a substance. As for example,
neither the generation of man, nor that which is generated, is
without a power; but this power is about man, and man himself is
the substance. Now the power or faculty is between the substance,
which is the powerful, and the generation and the thing generated,
which are both possibles. There being then these three things, the
power, the powerful, and the possible; before the power can exist,
the powerful must of necessity be presupposed as its subject, and
the power must also necessarily subsist before the possible.
By this deduction then may in some measure be understood what is
meant by possible; which may be grossly defined as "that which
power is able to produce;" or yet more exactly, if to this same
there be added, "provided there be nothing from without to hinder
or obstruct it." Now of possible things there are some which can
never be hindered, as are those in heaven, to wit, the rising and
setting of the stars, and the like to these; but others may indeed
be hindered, as are the most part of human things, and many also of
those which are done in the air. The first, as being done by
necessity, are called necessary; the others, which may fall one way
or other, are called contingent; and they may both thus be
described. The necessary possible is that whose contrary is
impossible; and the contingent possible is that whose contrary is
also possible. For that the sun should set is a thing both
necessary and possible, forasmuch as it is contrary to this that
the sun should not set, which is impossible; but that, when the sun
is set, there should be rain or not rain, both the one and the
other is possible and contingent. And then again of things
contingent, some happen oftener, others rarely and not so often,
others fall out equally or indifferently, as well the one way as
the other, even as it happens. Now it is manifest that those are
contrary to one another,--to wit, those which fall out oftener and
those which happen but seldom,--and they both for the most part are
dependent on Nature; but that which happens equally, as much one
way as another, depends on ourselves. For that under the Dog it
should be either hot or cold, the one oftener, the other seldomer,
are both things subject to Nature; but to walk and not to walk, and
all such things of which both the one and the other are submitted
to the free will of man, are said to be in us and our election;
but rather more generally to be in us. For there are two sorts of
this "being in our power"; the one of which proceeds from some
sudden passion and motion of the mind, as from anger or pleasure;
the other from the discourse and judgment of reason, which may
properly be said to be in our election. And some reason there is
to hold that this possible and contingent is the same thing with
that which is said to be in our power and according to our free
will, although named differently. For in respect to the future, it
is called possible and contingent; and in respect of the present,
it is named "in our power" and "in our free choice." These things
may thus be defined: The contingent is that which is itself--as
well as its contrary--possible; and "that which is in our power" is
one part of the contingent, to wit, that which now takes place
according to our choice. Thus have we in a manner declared, that
the possible in the order of Nature precedes the contingent, and
that the contingent exists before free will; as also what each of
them is, whence they are so named, and what are the qualities
adjoined or appertaining to them.

It now remains, that we treat of Fortune and casual adventure, and
whatever else is to be considered with them. It is therefore
certain that Fortune is a cause. Now of causes, some are causes by
themselves, and others by accident. Thus for example, the proper
cause by itself of an house or a ship is the art of the mason, the
carpenter, or the shipwright; but accidental causes are music,
geometry, and whatever else may happen to be joined with the art of
building houses or ships, in respect either of the body, the soul,
or any exterior thing. Whence it appears, that the cause by itself
must needs be determinate and one; but the causes by accident are
never one and the same, but infinite and undetermined. For many--
nay, infinite--accidents, wholly different one from the other, may
be in one and the same subject. Now the cause by accident, when it
is found in a thing which not only is done for some end but has in
it free will and election, is then called Fortune; as is the
finding a treasure while one is digging a hole to plant a tree, or
the doing or suffering some extraordinary thing whilst one is
flying, following, or otherwise walking, or only turning about,
provided it be not for the sake of that which happens, but for some
other intention. Hence it is, that some of the ancients have
declared Fortune to be a cause unknown that cannot be foreseen by
the human reason. But according to the Platonics, who have
approached yet nearer to the true reason of it, it is thus defined:
Fortune is a cause by accident, in those things which are done for
some end, and which are of our election. And afterwards they add,
that it is unforeseen and unknown to the human reason;
although that which is rare and strange appears also by the same
means to be in this kind of cause by accident. But what this is,
if it is not sufficiently evidenced by the oppositions and
disputations made against it, will at least most clearly be seen by
what is written in Plato's Phaedo, where you will find
these words:--

PHAED. Have you not heard how and in what manner the judgment
passed? ECH. Yes indeed; for there came one and told us of it.
At which we wondered very much that, the judgment having been given
long before, it seems that he died a great while after. And what,
Phaedo, might be the cause of it? PHAED. It was a fortune which
happened to him, Echecrates. For it chanced that, the day before
the judgment, the prow of the galley which the Athenians send every
year to the isle of Delos was crowned. (Plato, "Phaedo," p.58 A.)

In which discourse it is to be observed, that the expression
HAPPENED TO HIM is not simply to be understood by WAS DONE or CAME
TO PASS, but it much rather regards what befell him through the
concurrence of many causes together, one being done in connection
with another. For the priest crowned the ship and adorned it with
garlands for another end and intention, and not for the sake of
Socrates; and the judges also had for some other cause condemned
him. But the event was contrary to experience, and of such a
nature that it might seem to have been effected by the foresight of
some human creature, or rather of the superior powers. And so much
may suffice to show with what Fortune must of necessity subsist,
and that there must subsist first such things as are in our free
will: what it effects is, like itself called Fortune.
But chance or casual adventure is of a larger extent than Fortune;
which it comprehends, and also several other things which may of
their own nature happen sometimes one way, sometimes another.
And this, as it appears by the derivation of the word, which is in
Greek [Greek omitted] CHANCE, is that which happens of itself, when
that which is ordinary happens not, but another thing in its place;
such as cold in the dog-days seems to be; for it is sometimes then
cold. ... Once for all, as "that which is in our power" is a part
of the contingent, so Fortune is a part of chance or casual
adventure; and both the two events are conjoined and dependent on
the one and the other, to wit, chance on contingent, and Fortune on
"that which is in our choice,"--and yet not on all, but on what is
in our election, as we have already said. Wherefore chance is
common to things inanimate, as well as to those which are animated;
whereas Fortune is proper to man only, who has his actions
voluntary. And an argument of this is, that to be fortunate and to
be happy are thought to be one and the same thing. Now happiness
is a certain well-doing, and well-doing is proper only to man, and
to him perfect.

These, then, are the things which are comprised in Fate, to wit,
contingent, possible, election, "that which is in our power,"
Fortune, chance, and their adjuncts, as are the things signified by
the words perhaps and peradventure; all which indeed are contained
in Fate. Yet none Of them is fatal. It now remains, that we
discourse of divine Providence, and show how it comprehends even
Fate itself.

The supreme therefore and first Providence is the understanding or
(if you had rather) the will of the first and sovereign God, doing
good to everything that is in the world, by which all divine things
have universally and throughout been most excellently and most
wisely ordained and disposed. The second Providence is that of the
second gods, who go through the heaven, by which temporal and
mortal things are orderly and regularly generated, and which
pertains to the continuation and preservation of every kind.
The third may probably be called the Providence and procuration of
the Daemons, which, being placed on the earth, are the guardians
and overseers of human actions. This threefold Providence
therefore being seen, of which the first and supreme is chiefly and
principally so named, we shall not be afraid to say, although we
may in this seem to contradict the sentiments of some philosophers,
that all things are done by Fate and by Providence, but not also by
Nature. But some are done according to Providence, these according
to one, those according to another,--and some according to Fate;
and Fate is altogether according to Providence, while Providence is
in no wise according to Fate. But let this discourse be understood
of the first and supreme Providence. Now that which is done
according to another, whatever it is, is always posterior to that
according to which it is done; as that which is according to the
law is after the law, and that which is according to Nature is
after Nature, so that which is according to Fate is after Fate, and
must consequently be more new and modern. Wherefore supreme
Providence is the most ancient of all things, except him whose will
or understanding it is, to wit, the sovereign author, maker, and
father of all things. "Let us therefore," says Timaeus, "discourse
for what cause the Creator made and framed this machine of the
universe. He was good, and in him that is good there can never be
imprinted or engendered any envy against anything. Being therefore
wholly free from this, he desired that all things should, as far as
it is possible, resemble himself. He, therefore, who admits this
to have been chiefly the principal original of the generation and
creation of the world, as it has been delivered to us by wise men,
receives that which is most right. For God, who desired that all
things should be good, and nothing, as far as possibly might be,
evil, taking thus all that was visible,--restless as it was, and
moving rashly and confusedly,--reduced it from disorder to order,
esteeming the one to be altogether better than the other. For it
neither was nor is convenient for him who is in all perfection
good, to make anything that should not be very excellent and
beautiful." (Plato, "Timaeus," p.29 D.) This, therefore, and all
that follows, even to his disputation concerning human souls, is to
be understood of the first Providence, which in the beginning
constituted all things. Afterwards he speaks thus: "Having framed
the universe, he ordained souls equal in number to the stars, and
distributed to each of them one; and having set them, as it were,
in a chariot, showed the nature of the universe, and appointed them
the laws of Fate." (Ibid. p.41 D.) Who, then, will not believe,
that by these words he expressly and manifestly declares Fate to
be, as it were, a foundation and political constitution of laws,
fitted for the souls of men? Of which he afterwards renders
the cause.

As for the second Providence, he thus in a manner explains it,
saying: "Having prescribed them all these laws, to the end that, if
there should afterwards happen any fault, he might be exempt from
being the cause of any of their evil, he dispersed some of them
upon the earth, some into the moon, and some into the other
instruments of time. And after this dispersion, he gave in charge
to the young gods the making of human bodies, and the making up and
adding whatever was wanting and deficient in human souls; and after
they had perfected whatever is adherent and consequent to this,
they should rule and govern, in the best manner they possibly
could, this mortal creature, so far as it might not be the cause of
its own evils." (Ibid. p.42 D.) For by these words, "that he
might be exempt from being the cause of any of their evil," he most
clearly signifies the cause of Fate; and the order and office of
the young gods manifests the second Providence; and it seems also
in some sort to have touched a little upon the third, if he
therefore established laws and ordinances that he might be exempt
from being the cause of any of their evil. For God, who is free
from all evil, has no need of laws or Fate; but every one of these
petty gods, drawn on by the providence of him who has engendered
them, performs what belongs to his office. Now that this is true
and agreeable to the opinion of Plato, these words of the lawgiver,
spoken by him in his Book of Laws, seems to me to give sufficient
testimony: "If there were any man so sufficient by Nature, being by
divine Fortune happily engendered and born, that he could
comprehend this, he would have no need of laws to command him.
For there is not any law or ordinance more worthy and powerful than
knowledge; nor is it suitable that Mind, provided it be truly and
really free by Nature, should be a subject or slave to any one, but
it ought to command all." (Plato, "Laws," ix. p.875 C.)

I therefore do for mine own part thus understand and interpret this
sentence of Plato. There being a threefold Providence, the first,
as having engendered Fate, does in some sort comprehend it;
the second, having been engendered with Fate, is with it totally
comprehended and embraced by the first; the third, as having been
engendered after Fate, is comprehended by it in the same manner as
are free choice and Fortune, as we have already said. "For they
whom the assistance of a Daemon's power does help in their
intercourse" says Socrates, declaring to Theages what is the almost
settled ordinance of Adrastea "are those whom you also mean;
for they advance quickly." (Plato, "Theages", p.129 E.) In which
words, what he says of a Daemon's aiding some is to be ascribed to
the third Providence, and the growing and coming forward with speed
to Fate. In brief, it is not obscure or doubtful but that this
also is a kind of Fate. And perhaps it may be found much more
probable that the second Providence is also comprehended under
Fate, and indeed all things that are done; since Fate, as a
substance, has been rightly divided by us into three parts, and the
simile of the chain comprehends the revolutions of the heavens in
the number and rank of those things which happen conditionally.
But concerning these things I will not much contend, to wit,
whether they should be called conditional, or rather conjoined with
Fate, the precedent cause and commander of Fate being also fatal.

Our opinion, then, to speak briefly, is such. But the contrary
sentiment not only places all things in Fate, but affirms them all
to be done by Fate. It agrees indeed in all things to the other
(the Stoic) doctrine; and that which accords to another thing, 'tis
clear, is the same with it. In this discourse therefore we have
first spoken of the contingent; secondly, of "that which is in our
power"; thirdly, of Fortune and chance, and whatever depends on
them; fourthly, of praise, blame, and whatever depends on them;
the fifth and last of all may be said to be prayers to the gods,
with their services and ceremonies.

For the rest, as to those which are called idle and cropping
arguments, and that which is named the argument against destiny,
they are indeed but vain subtleties and captious sophisms,
according to this discourse. But according to the contrary
opinion, the first and principal conclusion seems to be, that there
is nothing done without a cause, but that all things depend upon
antecedent causes; the second, that the world is governed by
Nature, and that it conspires, consents, and is compatible with
itself; the third seems rather to be testimonies,--of which the
first is divination, approved by all sorts of people, as being
truly in God; the second is the equanimity and patience of wise
men, who take mildly and bear patiently whatever befalls, as
happening by divine ordinance and as it ought; the third is the
speech so common and usual in every one's mouth, to wit, that every
proposition is true or false. Thus have we contracted this
discourse into a small number of short articles, that we might in
few words comprehend the whole matter of Fate; into which a
scrutiny ought to be made, and the reasons of both opinions to be
weighed with a most exact balance. But we shall come to discuss
particulars later.

END OF NINE-----------


COLOTES, whom Epicurus was wont diminutively and by way of
familiarity or fondness to call Colotaras and Colotarion, composed,
O Saturninus, and published a little book which he entitled, "That
according to the opinions of the other philosophers one cannot so
much as live." This was dedicated to King Ptolemy. Now I suppose
that it will not be unpleasant for you to read, when set down in
writing, what came into my mind to speak against this Colotes,
since I know you to be a lover of all elegant and honest treatises,
and particularly of such as regard the science of antiquity, and to
esteem the bearing in memory and having (as much as possible may
be) in hand the discourses of the ancient sages to be the most
royal of all studies and exercises.

Not long since, therefore, as this book was being read, Aristodemus
of Aegium, a familiar friend of ours (whom you well know to be one
of the Academy, and not a mere thyrsus-bearer, but one of the most
frantic celebrators of Plato's name), did, I know not how, keep
himself contrary to his custom very still all the while, and
patiently gave ear to it even to the end. But the reading was
scarce well over when he said: Well, then, whom shall we cause to
rise up and fight against this man, in defence of the philosophers?
For I am not of Nestor's opinion, who, when the most valiant of
those nine warriors that presented themselves to enter into combat
was to be chosen, committed the election to the fortune of a lot.

Yet, answered I, you see he so disposed himself in reference to the
lot, that the choice might pass according to the arbitrament of the
wisest man;

And th' lot drawn from the helmet, as they wished,
On Ajax fell.

But yet since you command me to make the election,

How can I think a better choice to make
Than the divine Ulysses?
("Iliad," vii. 182; x. 243.)

Consider therefore, and be well advised, in what manner you will
chastise this man.

But you know, replied Aristodemus, that Plato, when highly offended
with his boy that waited on him, would not himself beat him, but
requested Speusippus to do it for him, saying that he himself was
angry. As much therefore may I say to you; Take this fellow to
you, and treat him as you please; for I am in a fit of choler.

When therefore all the rest of the company desired me to undertake
this office; I must then, said I, speak, since it is your pleasure.
But I am afraid that I also shall seem more vehemently transported
than is fitting against this book, in the defending and maintaining
Socrates against the rudeness, scurrility, and insolence of this
man; who, because Socrates affirmed himself to know nothing
certainly, instead of bread (as one would say) present him hay, as
if he were a beast, and asks him why he puts meat into his mouth
and not into his ear. And yet perhaps some would make but a
laughing matter of this, considering the mildness and gentleness of
Socrates; "but for the whole host of the Greeks," that is, of the
other philosophers, amongst which are Democritus, Plato, Stilpo,
Empedocles, Parmenides, and Melissus, who have been basely traduced
and reviled by him, it were not only a shame to be silent, but even
a sacrilege in the least point to forbear or recede from freedom of
speech in their behalf, who have advanced philosophy to that honor
and reputation it has gotten.

And our parents indeed have, with the assistance of the gods, given
us our life; but to live well comes to us from reason, which we
have learned from the philosophers, which favors law and justice,
and restrains our concupiscence. Now to live well is to live
sociably, friendly, temperately, and justly; of all which
conditions they leave us not one, who cry out that man's sovereign
good lies in his belly, and that they would not purchase all the
virtues together at the expense of a cracked farthing, if pleasure
were totally and on every side removed from them. And in their
discourses concerning the soul and the gods, they hold that the
soul perishes when it is separated from the body, and that the gods
concern not themselves in our affairs. Thus the Epicureans
reproach the other philosophers, that by their wisdom they bereave
man of his life; whilst the others on the contrary accuse them of
teaching men to live degenerately and like beasts.

Now these things are scattered here and there in the writings of
Epicurus, and dispersed through all his philosophy. But this
Colotes, by having extracted from them certain pieces and fragments
of discourses, destitute of any arguments whatever to render them
credible and intelligible, has composed his book, being like a shop
or cabinet of monsters and prodigies; as you better know than any
one else, because you have always in your hands the works of the
ancients. But he seems to me, like the Lydian, to open not only
one gate against himself, but to involve Epicurus also in many and
those the greatest doubts and difficulties. For he begins with
Democritus, who receives of him an excellent and worthy reward for
his instruction; it being certain that Epicurus for a long time
called himself a Democritean, which as well others affirm, as
Leonteus, a principal disciple of Epicurus, who in a letter which
he writ to Lycophron says, that Epicurus honored Democritus,
because he first attained, though a little at a distance, the right
and sound understanding of the truth, and that in general all the
treatise concerning natural things was called Democritean, because
Democritus was the first who happened upon the principles and met
with the primitive foundations of Nature. And Metrodorus says
openly of philosophy, If Democritus had not gone before and taught
the way, Epicurus had never attained to wisdom. Now if it be true,
as Colotes holds, that to live according to the opinions of
Democritus is not to live, Epicurus was then a fool in following
Democritus, who led him to a doctrine which taught him not to live.

Now the first thing he lays to his charge is, that, by supposing
everything to be no more individual than another, he wholly
confounds human life. But Democritus was so far from having been
of this opinion, that he opposed Protagoras the philosopher who
asserted it, and writ many excellent arguments concluding against
him, which this fine fellow Colotes never saw nor read, nor yet so
much as dreamed of; but deceived himself by misunderstanding a
passage which is in his works, where he determines that [Greek
omitted] is no more than [Greek omitted], naming in that place the
body by [Greek omitted], and the void by [Greek omitted], and
meaning that the void has its own proper nature and subsistence, as
well as the body.

But he who is of opinion that nothing has more of one nature than
another makes use of a sentence of Epicurus, in which he says that
all the apprehensions and imaginations given us by the senses are
true. For if of two saying, the one, that the wine is sour, and
the other, that it is sweet, neither of them shall be deceived by
his sensation, how shall the wine be more sour than sweet? And we
may often see that some men using one and the same bath find it to
be hot, and others find it to be cold; because those order cold
water to be put into it, as these do hot. It is said that, a
certain lady going to visit Berenice, wife to King Deiotarus, as
soon as ever they approached each other, they both immediately
turned their backs, the one, as it seemed, not being able to bear
the smell of perfume, nor the other of butter. If, then, the sense
of one is no truer than the sense of another, it is also probable,
that water is no more cold than hot, nor sweet ointment or butter
better or worse scented one than the other. For if any one shall
say that it seems the one to one, and the other to another, he
will, before he is aware, affirm that they are both the one and
the other.

And as for these symmetries and proportions of the pores, or little
passages in the organs of the senses, about which they talk so
much, and those different mixtures of seeds, which, they say, being
dispersed through all savors, odors, and colors, move the senses of
different persons to perceive different qualities, do they not
manifestly drive them to this, that things are no more of one
nature than another? For to pacify those who think the sense is
deceived and lies because they see contrary events and passions in
such as use the same objects, and to solve this objection, they
teach,--that when almost everything was confused and mixed up
together, since it has been arranged by Nature that one thing shall
fit another thing, it was not the contact or the apprehension of
the same quality nor were all parts affected in the same way by
what was influencing them. But those only coalesced with anything
to which they had a characteristic, symmetrical in a corresponding
proportion; so that they are in error so obstinately to insist that
a thing is either good or bad, white or not white, thinking to
establish their own senses by destroying those of others;
whereas they ought neither to combat the senses,--because they all
touch some quality, each one drawing from this confused mixture, as
from a living and large fountain, what is suitable and convenient,
--nor to pronounce of the whole, by touching only the parts, nor to
think that all ought to be affected after one and the same manner
by the same thing, seeing that one is affected by one quality and
faculty of it, and another by another. Let us investigate who
those men are which bring in this opinion that things are not more
of one quality than another, if they are not those who affirm that
every sensible object is a mixture, compounded of all sorts of
qualities, like a mixture of new wine fermenting, and who confess
that all their rules are lost and their faculty of judging quite
gone, if they admit any sensible object that is pure and simple,
and do not make each one thing to be many?

See now to this purpose, what discourse and debate Epicurus makes
Polyaenus to have with him in his Banquet concerning the heat of
wine. For when he asked, "Do you, Epicurus, say, that wine does
not heat?" some one answered, "It is not universally to be affirmed
that wine heats." And a little after: "For wine seems not to be
universally a heater; but such a quantity may be said to heat such
a person." And again subjoining the cause, to wit, the
compressions and disseminations of the atoms, and having alleged
their commixtures and conjunctions with others when the wine comes
to be mingled in the body, he adds this conclusion: "It is not
universally to be said that wine is endued with a faculty of
heating; but that such a quantity may heat such a nature and one so
disposed, while such a quantity to such a nature is cooling.
For in such a mass there are such natures and complexions of which
cold might be composed, and which, united with others in proper
measure, would yield a refrigerative virtue. Wherefore some are
deceived, who say that wine is universally a heater; and others,
who say that it is universally a cooler." He then who says that
most men are deceived and err, in holding that which is hot to be
heating and that which is cold to be cooling, is himself in an
error, unless he should allow that his assertion ends in the
doctrine that one thing is not more of one nature than another.
He farther adds afterwards that oftentimes wine entering into a
body brings with it thither neither a calefying nor refrigerating
virtue, but, the mass of the body being agitated and disturbed, and
a transposition made of the parts, the heat-effecting atoms being
assembled together do by their multitude cause a heat and
inflammation in the body, and sometimes on the contrary
disassembling themselves cause a refrigeration.

But it is moreover wholly evident, that we may employ this argument
to all those things which are called and esteemed bitter, sweet,
purging, dormitive, and luminous, not any one of them having an
entire and perfect quality to produce such effects, nor to act
rather than to be acted on when they are in the bodies, but being
there susceptible, of various temperatures and differences.
For Epicurus himself, in his Second Book against Theophrastus,
affirming that colors are not connatural to bodies, but are
engendered there according to certain situations and positions with
respect to the sight of man, says: "For this reason a body is no
more colored than destitute of color." And a little above he
writes thus, word for word: "But apart from this, I know not how a
man may say that those bodies which are in the dark have color;
although very often, an air equally dark being spread about them,
some distinguish diversities of colors, others perceive them not
through the weakness of their sight. And moreover, going into a
dark house or room, we at our first entrance see no color, but
after we have stayed there awhile, we do. Wherefore we are to say
that every body is not more colored than not colored. Now, if
color is relative and has its being in regard to something else, so
also then is white, and so likewise blue; and if colors are so, so
also are sweet and bitter. So that it may truly be affirmed of
every quality, that it cannot more properly be said to exist than
not to exist. For to those who are in a certain manner disposed,
they will be; but to those who are not so disposed, they will not
be." Colotes therefore has bedashed and bespattered himself and
his master with that dirt, in which he says those lie who maintain
that things are not more of one quality than another.

But is it in this alone, that this excellent man shows himself--

To others a physician, whilst himself
Is full of ulcers?
(Euripides, Frag. 1071.)

No indeed; but yet much farther in his second reprehension, without
any way minding it, he drives Epicurus and Democritus out of this
life. For he affirms that the statement of Democritus--that the
atoms are to the senses color by a certain human law or ordinance,
that they are by the same law sweetness, and by the same law
concretion--is at war with our senses, and that he who uses this
reason and persists in this opinion cannot himself imagine whether
he is living or dead. I know not how to contradict this discourse;
but this I can boldly affirm, that this is as inseparable from the
sentences and doctrines of Epicurus as they say figure and weight
are from atoms. For what is it that Democritus says? "There are
substances, in number infinite, called atoms (because they cannot
be divided), without difference, without quality, and passibility,
which move, being dispersed here and there, in the infinite
voidness; and that when they approach one another, or meet and are
conjoined, of such masses thus heaped together, one appears water,
another fire, another a plant, another a man; and that all things
are thus properly atoms (as he called them), and nothing else;
for there is no generation from what does not exist; and of those
things which are nothing can be generated, because these atoms are
so firm, that they can neither change, alter, nor suffer;
wherefore there cannot be made color of those things which are
without color, nor nature or soul of those things which are without
quality and impassible." Democritus then is to be blamed, not for
confessing those things that happen upon his principles, but for
supposing principles upon which such things happen. For he should
not have supposed immutable principles; or having supposed them, he
should have seen that the generation of all quality is taken away;
but having seen the absurdity, to deny it is most impudent.
But Epicurus says, that he supposes the same principles with
Democritus, but that he says not that color, sweet, white, and
other qualities, are by law and ordinance. If therefore NOT TO SAY
is the same as NOT TO CONFESS, he does merely what he is wont
to do. For it is as when, taking away divine Providence, he
nevertheless says that he leaves piety and devotion towards the
gods; and when, choosing friendship for the sake of pleasure, that
he suffers most grievous pains for his friends; and supposing the
universe to be infinite, that he nevertheless takes not away high
and low. ... Indeed having taken the cup, one may drink what he
pleases, and return the rest. But in reasoning one ought chiefly
to remember this wise apothegm, that where the principles are not
necessary, the ends and consequences are necessary. It was not
then necessary for him to suppose or (to say better) to steal from
Democritus, that atoms are the principles of the universe;
but having supposed this doctrine, and having pleased and glorified
himself in the first probable and specious appearances of it, he
must afterwards also swallow that which is troublesome in it, or
must show how bodies which have not any quality can bring all sorts
of qualities to others only by their meetings and joining together.
As--to take that which comes next to hand--whence does that which
we call heat proceed, and how is it engendered in the atoms, if
they neither had heat when they came, nor are become hot after
their being joined together? For the one presupposes that they had
some quality, and the other that they were fit to receive it.
And you affirm, that neither the one nor the other must be said to
be congruous to atoms, because they are incorruptible.

How then? Do not Plato, Aristotle, and Xenocrates produce gold from
that which is not gold, and stone from that which is not stone, and
many other things from the four simple first bodies? Yes indeed;
but with those bodies immediately concur also the principles for
the generation of everything, bringing with them great
contributions, that is, the first qualities which are in them;
then, when they come to assemble and join in one the dry with the
moist, the cold with the hot, and the solid with the soft,--that
is, active bodies with such as are fit to suffer and receive every
alteration and change,--then is generation wrought by passing from
one temperature to another. Whereas the atom, being alone, is
alone, is deprived and destitute of all quality and generative
faculty, and when it comes to meet with the others, it can make
only a noise and sound because of its hardness and firmness, but
nothing more. For they always strike and are stricken, not being
able by this means to compose or make an animal, a soul, or a
nature, nay, not so much as a mass or heap of themselves; for that
as they beat upon one another, so they fly back again asunder.

But Colotes, as if he were speaking to some ignorant and unlettered
king, again attacks Empedocles for expressing the same thought:--

I've one thing more to say. 'Mongst mortals there
No Nature is; nor that grim thing men fear
So much, called death. There only happens first
A mixture, and mixt things asunder burst
Again, when them disunion does befall.
And this is that which men do Nature call.

For my part, I do not see how this is repugnant and contrary to
life or living, especially amongst those who hold that there is no
generation of that which is not, nor corruption of that which is,
but that the assembling and union of the things which are is called
generation, and their dissolution and disunion named corruption and
death. For that he took Nature for generation, and that this is
his meaning, he has himself declared, when he opposed Nature to
death. And if they neither live nor can live who place generation
in union and death in disunion, what else do these Epicureans?
Yet Empedocles, gluing, (as it were) and conjoining the elements
together by heats, softnesses, and humidifies, gives them in some
sort a mixtion and unitive composition; but these men who hunt and
drive together the atoms, which they affirm to be immutable and
impassible, compose nothing proceeding from them, but indeed make
many and continual percussions of them.

For the interlacement, hindering the dissolution, more and more
augments the collision and concussion; so that there is neither
mixtion nor adhesion and conglutination, but only a discord and
combat, which according to them is called generation. And if the
atoms do now recoil for a moment by reason of the shock they have
given, and then return again after the blow is past, they are above
double the time absent from one another, without either touching or
approaching, so as nothing can be made of them, not even so much as
a body without a soul. But as for sense, soul, understanding, and
prudence, there is not any man who can in the least conceive or
imagine how it is possible they should be made in a voidness, and
atoms which neither when separate and apart have any quality, nor
any passion or alteration when they are assembled and joined
together, especially seeing this their meeting together is not an
incorporation or congress, making a mixture or coalition, but
rather percussions and repercussions. So that, according to the
doctrine of these people, life is taken away, and the existence of
an animal denied, since they posit principles void, impassible,
godless, and soulless, and such as cannot allow or receive any
mixture or commingling whatever.

How then is it, that they admit and allow Nature, soul, and living
creature? Even in the same manner as they do an oath, prayer, and
sacrifice, and the adoration of the gods. Thus they adore by word
and mouth, only naming and feigning that which by their principles
they totally take away and abolish. If now they call that which is
born Nature, and that which is engendered generation,--as those who
are accustomed to call wood wood-work and the voices that accord
and sound together symphony,--whence came it into his mind to
object these words against Empedocles? "Why," says he, "do we tire
ourselves in taking such care of ourselves, in desiring and longing
after certain things, and shunning and avoiding others? For we
neither are ourselves, nor do we live by making use of others."
But be of good cheer, my dear little Colotes, may one perhaps say
to him: there is none who hinders you from taking care of yourself
by teaching that the nature of Colotes is nothing else but Colotes
himself, or who forbids you to make use of things (now things with
you are pleasures) by showing that there is no nature of tarts and
marchpanes, of sweet odors, or of venereal delights, but that there
are tarts, marchpanes, perfumes, and women. For neither does the
grammarian who says that the "strength of Hercules" is Hercules
himself deny the being of Hercules; nor do those who say that
symphonies and roofings are but absolute derivations affirm that
there are neither sounds nor timbers; since also there are some
who, taking away the soul and intelligence, do not yet seem to take
away either living or being intelligent.

And when Epicurus says that the nature of things is to be found in
bodies and their place, do we so comprehend him as if he meant that
Nature were something else than the things which are, or as if he
insinuated that it is merely the things which are, and nothing
else?--as, to wit, he is wont to call voidness itself the nature of
voidness, and the universe, by Jupiter, the nature of the universe.
And if any one should thus question him; What sayst thou,
Epicurus, that this is voidness, and that the nature of voidness?
No, by Jupiter, would he answer; but this transference of names is
in use by law and custom. I grant it is. Now what has Empedocles
done else, but taught that Nature is nothing else save that which
is born, and death no other thing but that which dies? But as the
poets very often, forming as it were an image, say thus in
figurative language,

Strife, tumult, noise, placed by some angry god,
Mischief, and malice there had their abode;
("Iliad," xvii. 525.)

so do some authors attribute generation and corruption to things
that are contracted together and dissolved. But so far has he been
from stirring and taking away that which is, or contradicting that
which evidently appears, that he casts not so much as one single
word out of the accustomed use; but taking away all figurative
fraud that might hurt or endamage things, he again restored the
ordinary and useful signification to words in these verses:-

When from mixed elements we sometimes see
A man produced, sometimes a beast, a tree,
Or bird, this birth and geniture we name;
But death, when this so well compacted frame
And juncture is dissolved.

And yet I myself say that Colotes, though he alleged these verses,
did not understand that Empedocles took not away men, beasts,
trees, or birds, which he affirmed to be composed of the elements
mixed together; and that, by teaching how much they are deceived
who call this composition Nature and life, and this dissolution
unhappy destruction and miserable death, he did not abrogate the
using of the customary expressions in this respect.

And it seems to me, indeed, that Empedocles did not aim in this
place at the disturbing the common manner of expression, but that
he really, as it has been said, had a controversy about generation
from things that have no being, which some call Nature. Which he
manifestly shows by these verses:--

Fools, and of little thought, we well may deem
Those, who so silly are as to esteem
That what ne'er was may now engendered be,
And that what is may perish utterly.

For these are the words of one who cries loud enough to those which have ears, that he takes not away generation, but procreation from nothing; nor corruption, but total destruction that is, reduction to nothing. For to him who would not so savagely and foolishly but more gently calumniate, the following verses might give a colorable occasion of charging Empedocles with the contrary, when he says:--

No prudent man can e'er into his mind
Admit that, whilst men living here on earth
(Which only life they call) both fortunes find,
They being have, but that before the birth
They nothing were, nor shall be when once dead.

For these are not the expressions of a man who denies those that
are born to be, but rather of him who holds those to be that are
not yet born or that are already dead. And Colotes also does not
altogether accuse him of this, but says that according to his
opinion we shall never be sick, never wounded. But how is it
possible, that he who affirms men to have being both before their
life and after their death, and during their life to find both
fortunes (or to be accompanied both by good and evil), should not
leave them the power to suffer? Who then are they, O Colotes, that
are endued with this privilege never to be wounded, never to be
sick? Even you yourselves, who are composed of atoms and voidness,
neither of which, you say, has any sense. Now there is no great
hurt in this; but the worst is, you have nothing left that can
cause you pleasure, seeing an atom is not capable to receive those
things which are to effect it, and voidness cannot be affected
by them.

But because Colotes would, immediately after Democritus, seem to
inter and bury Parmenides, and I have passed over and a little
postponed his defence, to bring in between them that of Empedocles,
as seeming to be more coherent and consequent to the first
reprehensions, let us now return to Parmenides. Him, then, does
Colotes accuse of having broached and set abroad certain shameful
and villanous sophistries; and yet by these his sophisms he has
neither rendered friendship less honorable, nor voluptuousness or
the desire of pleasures more audacious and unbridled. He has not
taken from honesty its attractive property or its being venerable
or recommendable of itself, nor has he disturbed the opinions we
ought to have of the gods. And I do not see how, by saying that
the All (or the universe) is one, he hinders or obstructs our
living. For when Epicurus himself says that the All is infinite,
that it is neither engendered nor perishable, that it can neither
increase nor be diminished, he speaks of the universe as of one
only thing. And having in the beginning of his treatise concerning
this matter said, that the nature of those things which have being
consists of bodies and of vacuum, he makes a division (as it were)
of one thing into two parts, one of which has in reality no
subsistence, being, as you yourselves term it, impalpable, void,
and incorporeal; so that by this means, even with you also, all
comes to be one; unless yon desire, in speaking of voidness, to use
words void of sense, and to combat the ancients, as if you were
fighting against a shadow.

But these atomical bodies, you will say, are, according to the
opinion of Epicurus, infinite in number, and everything which
appears to us is composed of them. See now, therefore, what
principles of generation you suppose, infinity and voidness; one of
which, to wit, voidness, is inactive, impassible, and incorporeal;
the other, to wit, infinity, is disorderly, unreasonable, and
unintelligible, dissolving and confounding itself, because it
cannot for its multitude be contained, circumscribed, or limited.
But Parmenides has neither taken away fire, nor water, nor
precipices, nor yet cities (as Colotes says) which are inhabited as
well in Europe as in Asia; since he has both constructed an order
of the world, and mixing the elements, to wit, light and dark, does
of them and by them arrange and finish all things that appear in
the world. For he has written very largely of the earth, heaven,
sun, moon, and stars, and has spoken of the generation of man;
and being, as he was, an ancient author in physiology, and one who
in writing sought to save his own and not to destroy another's
doctrine, he has overlooked none of the essential things in Nature.
Moreover, Plato, and before him Socrates himself, understood that
in Nature there is one part subject to opinion, and another subject
to intelligence. As for that which is subject to opinion, it is
always unconstant, wandering, and carried away with several
passions and changes, liable to diminution and increase, and to be
variously disposed to various men, and not always appearing after
one manner even to the same individual. But as to the intelligible
part, it is quite of another kind,

Constant, entire, and still engenerable,

as himself says, always like to itself, and perdurable in
its being.

Here Colotes, sycophant-like, catching at his expressions and
drawing the discourse from things to words, flatly affirms that
Parmenides in one word destroys the existence of all things by
supposing ENS (or that which is) to be one. But, on the contrary,
he takes away neither the one nor the other part of Nature;
but rendering to each of them what belongs to it and is convenient
for it, he places the intelligible in the idea of one and of "that
which is," calling it ENS because it is eternal and incorruptible,
and one because it is always like itself and admits no diversity.
And as for that part which is sensible, he places it in the rank of
uncertain, disorderly, and always moving. Of which two parts, we
may see the distinct judgment:--

One certain truth and sincere knowledge is,

as regarding that which is intelligible, and always alike and of
the same sort;

The other does on men's opinions rest,
Which breed no true belief within our breast,

because it is conversant in things which receive all sorts of
changes, passions, and inequalities. Now how he could have left
sense and opinion, if he had not also left any sensible and
opinable object, it is impossible for any man to say. But because
to that which truly IS it appertains to continue in its being, and
because sensible things sometimes are, sometimes are not,
continually passing from one being to another and perpetually
changing their state, he thought they required some other name than
that of ENTIA, or things which always are. This speech therefore
concerning ENS (or that which is), that it should be but one, is
not to take away the plurality of sensible things, but to show how
they differ from that which is intelligible. Which difference
Plato in his discussion of Ideas more fully declaring, has thereby
afforded Colotes an opportunity of cavilling.

Therefore it seems not unfitting to me to take next into our
consideration, as it were all in a train, what he has also said
against him. But first let us contemplate a little the diligence--
together with the manifold and profound knowledge--of this our
philosopher, who says, that Aristotle, Xenocrates, Theophrastus,
and all the Peripateties have followed these doctrines of Plato.
For in what corner of the uninhabitable world have you, O Colotes,
written your book, that, composing all these accusations against
such personages, you never have lighted upon their works, nor have
taken into your hands the books of Aristotle concerning Heaven and
the Soul, nor those of Theophrastus against the Naturalists, nor
the Zoroaster of Heraclides, nor his books of Hell, nor that of
Natural Doubts and Difficulties, nor the book of Dicaearchus
concerning the Soul; in all which books they are in the highest
degree contradictory and repugnant to Plato about the principal and
greatest points of natural philosophy? Nay, Strato himself, the
very head and prince of the other Peripatetics, agrees not in many
things with Aristotle, and holds opinions altogether contrary to
Plato, concerning motion, the understanding, the soul, and
generation. In fine, he says that the world is not an animal, and
that what is according to Nature follows what is according to
Fortune; for that Chance gave the beginning, and so every one of
the natural effects was afterwards finished.

Now as to the ideas,--for which he quarrels with Plato,--Aristotle,
by moving this matter at every turn, and alleging all manner of
doubts concerning them, in his Ethics, in his Physics, and in his
Exoterical Dialogues seems to some rather obstinately than
philosophically to have disputed against these doctrines, as having
proposed to himself the debasing and undervaluing of Plato's
philosophy; so far he was from following it. What an impudent
rashness then is this, that having neither seen nor understood what
these persons have written and what were their opinions, he should
go and devise such things as they never imagined; and persuading
himself that he reprehends and refutes others, he should produce a
proof, written with his own hand, arguing and convincing himself of
ignorance, licentiousness, and shameful impudence, in saying that
those who contradict Plato agree with him, and that those who
oppose him follow him.

Plato, says he, writes that horses are in vain by us considered
horses, and men men. And in which of Plato's commentaries has he
found this hidden? For as to us, we read in all his books, that
horses are horses, that men are men, and that fire is by him
esteemed fire, because he holds that every one of these things is
sensible and subject to opinion. But this Colotes, as if he were
not a hair's breadth distance from wisdom, takes it to be one and
the same thing to say, "Man is not" and "Man is a NON ENS."

Now to Plato there seems to be a wonderful great difference between
not being at all and being a NON ENS; because the first imports an
annihilation and abolishment of all substance, and the other shows
the diversity there is between that which is participated and that
which participates. Which diversity those who came after
distinguished only into the difference of genus and species, and
certain common and proper qualities or accidents, as they are
called, but ascended no higher, falling into more logical doubts
and difficulties. Now there is the same proportion between that
which is participated and that which participates, as there is
between the cause and the matter, the original and the image, the
faculty and the result. Wherein that which is by itself and always
the same principally differs from that which is by another and
never remains in one and the same manner; because the one never was
nor ever shall be non-existent, and is therefore totally and
essentially an ENS; but to the other that very being, which it has
not of itself but happens to take by participation from another,
does not remain firm and constant, but it goes out of it by its
imbecility,--the matter always gliding and sliding about the form,
and receiving several functions and changes in the image of the
substance, so that it is continually moving and shaking.
As therefore he who says that the image of Plato is not Plato takes
not away the sense and substance of the image, but shows the
difference of that which is of itself from that which is only in
regard to some other, so neither do they take away the nature, use,
or sense of men, who affirm that every one of us, by participating
in a certain common substratum, that is, in the idea, is become the
image of that which afforded the likeness for our generation.
For neither does he who says that a red-hot iron is not fire, or
that the moon is not the sun, but, as Parmenides has it,

A torch which round the earth by night
Does bear about a borrowed light,

take away therefore the use of iron, or the nature of the moon.
But if he should deny it to be a body, or affirm that it is not
illuminated, he would then contradict the senses, as one who
admitted neither body, animal, generation, nor sense. But he who
by his opinion imagines that these things subsist only by
participation, and reflects how far remote and distant they are
from that which always is and which communicates to them their
being, does not reject the sensible, but affirms that the
intelligible is; nor does he take away and abolish the results
which are wrought and appear in us; but he shows to those who
follow him that there are other things, firmer and more stable than
these in respect of their essence, because they are neither
engendered, nor perish, nor suffer anything; and he teaches them,
more purely touching the difference, to express it by names,
calling these [Greek omitted] or [Greek omitted] (THINGS THAT HAVE
BEING), and those [Greek omitted] or FIENTIA (THINGS ENGENDERED).
And the same also usually befalls the moderns; for they deprive
many--and those great things--of the appellation of ENS or BEING;
such as are voidness, time, place, and simply the entire genus of
things spoken, in which are comprised all things true. For these
things, they say, are not ENTIA but SOME THINGS; and they
perpetually treat of them in their lives and in their philosophy,
as of things having subsistence and existence.

But I would willingly ask this our fault-finder, whether themselves
do not in their affairs perceive this difference, by which some
things are permanent and immutable in their substances,--as they
say of their atoms, that they are at all times and continually
after one and the same manner, because of their impassibility and
hardness,--but that all compound things are fluxible, changeable,
generated, and perishing; forasmuch as infinite images are always
departing and going from them, and infinite others as it is
probable, repair to them from the ambient air, filling up what was
diminished from the mass, which is much diversified and
transvasated, as it were, by this change, since those atoms which
are in the very bottom of the said mass can never cease stirring
and reciprocally beating upon one another; as they themselves
affirm. There is then in things such a diversity of substance.
But Epicurus is in this wiser and more learned than Plato, that he
calls them all equally ENTIA,--to wit, the impalable voidness, the
solid and resisting body, the principles, and the things composed
of them,--and thinks that the eternal participates of the common
substance with that which is generated, the immortal with the
corruptible, and the natures that are impassible, perdurable,
unchangeable, and that can never fall from their being, with those
which have their essence in suffering and changing, and can never
continue in one and the same state. But though Plato had with all
the justness imaginable deserved to be condemned for having
offended in this, yet should he have been sentenced by these
gentlemen, who use Greek more elegantly and discourse more
correctly than he, only as having confounded the terms, and not as
having taken away the things and driven life from us, because he
named them FIENTIA (or things engendered), and not ENTIA (things
that have being), as these men do.

But because we have passed over Socrates, who should have come next
after Parmenides, we must now turn back our discourse to him.
Him therefore has Colotes begun at the very first to remove, as the
common proverb has it, from the sacred line; and having mentioned
how Chaerephon brought from Delphi an oracle, well known to us all,
concerning Socrates, he says thus: "Now as to this narration of
Chaerephon's, because it is odious and entirely sophistical, we
will overpass it." Plato, then, that we may say nothing of others,
is also odious, who has committed it to writing; and the
Lacedaemonians are yet more odious, who keep the oracle of Lycurgus
amongst their most ancient and most authentic inscriptions.
The oracle also of Themistocles, by which he persuaded the
Athenians to quit their town, and in a naval fight defeated the
barbarous Xerxes, was a sophistical fiction. Odious also were all
the ancient legislators and founders of Greece who established the
most part of their temples, sacrifices, and solemn festivals by the
answer of the Pythian Oracle. But if the oracle brought from
Delphi concerning Socrates, a man ravished with a divine zeal to
virtue, by which he is styled and declared wise, is odious,
fictitious, and sophistical, by what name shall we call your cries,
noises, and shouts, your applauses, adorations and canonizations,
with which you extol and celebrate him who incites and exhorts you
to frequent and continual pleasures? For thus has he written in
his epistle to Anaxarchus: "I for my part incite and call you to
continual pleasures, and not to vain and empty virtues, which have
nothing but turbulent hopes of uncertain fruits." And yet
Metrodorus, writing to Timarchus, says: "Let us do some
extraordinarily excellent thing, not suffering ourselves to be
plunged in reciprocal affections, but retiring from this low and
terrestrial life, and elevating ourselves to the truly holy and
divinely revealed ceremonies and mysteries of Epicurus." And even
Colotes himself, hearing one day Epicurus discoursing of natural
things, fell suddenly at his feet and embraced his knees, as
Epicurus himself, glorying in it, thus writes: "For as if you had
adored what we were then saying, you were suddenly taken with a
desire, proceeding not from any natural cause, to come to us,
prostrate yourself on the ground, embrace our knees, and use all
those gestures to us which are ordinarily practised by those who
adore and pray to the gods. So that you made us also," says he,
"reciprocally sanctify and adore you." Those, by Jupiter, well
deserve to be pardoned, who say, they would willingly give any
money for a picture in which should be presented to the life this
fine story of one lying prostrate at the knees and embracing the
legs of another, who mutually again adores him and makes his devout
prayers to him. Nevertheless this devout service, how well soever
it was ordered and composed by Colotes, received not the condign
fruit he expected; for he was not declared wise; but it was only
said to him: Go they ways, and walk immortal; and understand that
we also are in like manner immortal.

These men, knowing well in their consciences that they have used
such foolish speeches, have had such motions, and such passions,
dare nevertheless call others odious. And Colotes, having shown us
these fine first-fruits and wise positions touching the natural
senses,--that we eat meat, and not hay or forage; and that when
rivers are deep and great, we pass them in boats, but when shallow
and easily fordable, on foot,--cries out, "You use vain and
arrogant speeches, O Socrates; you say one thing to those who come
to discourse with you, and practise another." Now I would fain
know what these vain and arrogant speeches of Socrates were, since
he ordinarily said that he knew nothing, that he was always
learning, and that he went inquiring and searching after the truth.
But if, O Colotes, you had happened on such expressions of
Socrates as are those which Epicurus writ to Idomeneus, "Send me
then the first-fruits for the entertainment of our sacred body, for
ourself and for our children: for so it comes upon me to speak;"
what more arrogant and insolent words could you have used? And yet
that Socrates spake otherwise than he lived, you have wonderful
proofs in his gests at Delium, at Potidaea, in his behavior during
the time of the Thirty Tyrants, towards Archelaus, towards the
people of Athens, in his poverty, and in his death. For are not
these things beseeming and answerable to the doctrine of Socrates?
They would indeed, good sir, have been indubitable testimonies to
show that he acted otherwise than he taught, if, having proposed
pleasure for the end of life, he had led such a life as this.

Thus much for the calumnies he has uttered against Socrates.
Colotes besides perceives not that he is himself found guilty of
the same offences in regard to theory and practice which he objects
against Socrates. For this is one of the sentences and
propositions of Epicurus, that none but the wise man ought
irrevocably and unchangeably to be persuaded of anything.
Since then Colotes, even after those adorations he performed to
Epicurus, became not one of the sages, let him first make these
questions and interrogatories his own: How is it that being hungry
he eats meat and not hay, and that he puts a robe about his body
and not about a pillar, since he is not indubitably persuaded
either that a robe is a robe or that meat is meat? But if he not
only does these things, but also passes not over rivers, when they
are great and high, on foot, and flies from wolves and serpents,
not being irrevocably persuaded that any of these things is such as
it seems, but yet doing everything according to what appears to
him; so likewise the opinion of Socrates concerning the senses was
no obstacle to him, but that he might in like manner make use of
things as they appeared to him. For it is not likely that bread
appeared bread and hay hay to Colotes, because he had read those
holy rules of Epicurus which came down from heaven, while Socrates
on account of his vanity imagined that hay was bread and bread hay.
For these wise men use better opinions and reasons than we; but to
have sense, and to receive an impression from objects as they
appear, is common as well to the ignorant as to the wise, as
proceeding from causes where there needs not the discourse of
reason. And the proposition which affirms that the natural senses
are not perfect, nor certain enough to cause an entire belief,
hinders not that everything may appear to us; but leaving us to
make use of our senses in our actions according to that which
appears, it permits us not so to give credit to them as if they
were exactly true and without error. For it is sufficient that in
what is necessary and commodious for use there is nothing better.
But as for the science and knowledge which the soul of a
philosopher desires to have concerning everything, the senses have
it not.

But as to this, Colotes will farther give us occasion to speak of
it hereafter, for he brings this objection against several others.
Furthermore, whereas he profusely derides and despises Socrates for
asking what man is, and in a youthful bravery (as he terms it)
affirming that he was ignorant of it, it is manifest that he
himself, who scoffs at it, never so much as thought of this matter;
but Heraclitus on the contrary, as having done some great and
worthy thing, said, I have been seeking myself. And of the
sentences that were written in Apollo's temple at Delphi, the most
excellent and most divine seems to have been this, Know thyself.
And this it was which gave Socrates an occasion and beginning of
doubting and inquiring into it, as Aristotle says in his Platonics.
And yet this appears to Colotes ridiculous and fit to be scoffed
at. And I wonder that he derides not also his master himself, who
does as much whenever he writes concerning the substance of the
soul and the creation of man. For if that which is compounded of
both, as they themselves hold,--of the body, to wit, and the soul,
--is man, he who searches into the nature of the soul consequently
also searches into the nature of man, beginning from his chiefest
principle. Now that the soul is very difficult to be comprehended
by reason, and altogether incomprehensible by the exterior senses,
let us not learn from Socrates, who is a vainglorious and
sophistical disputer, but let us take it from these wise men, who,
having forged and framed the substance of the soul of somewhat hot,
spiritual, and aerial, as far as to the faculties of the flesh, by
which she gives heat, softness and strength to the body, proceed
not to that which is the principal, but give over faint and tired
by the way. For that by which she judges, remembers, loves,
hates,--in a word, that which is prudent and rational, is,--say
they, made afterwards of I know not what nameless quality. Now we
well know, that this nameless thing is a confession of their
shameful ignorance, whilst they pretend they cannot name what they
are not able to understand or comprehend. But let this, as they
say, be pardoned them. For it seems not to be a light and easy
matter, which every one can at the first attempt find out and
attain to, but has retired itself to the bottom of some very remote
place, and there lies obscurely concealed. So that there is not,
amongst so many words and terms as are in use, any one that can
explain or show it. Socrates therefore was not a fool or blockhead
for seeking and searching what himself was; but they are rather to
be thought shallow coxcombs, who inquire after any other thing
before this, the knowledge of which is so necessary and so hard to
find. For how could he expect to gain the knowledge of other
things, who has not been able to comprehend the principal element
even of himself?

But granting a little to Colotes, that there is nothing so vain,
useless, and odious as the seeking into one's self, let us ask him,
what confession of human life is in this, and how it is that a man
cannot continue to live, when he comes once thus to reason and
discourse in himself: "Go to now, what am I? Am I a composition,
made up of soul and body; or rather a soul, serving itself and
making use of the body, as an horseman using his horse is not a
subject composed of horse and man? Or is every one of us the
principal part of the soul, by which we understand, infer, and act;
and are all the other parts, both of soul and body, only organs and
utensils of this power? Or, to conclude, is there no proper
substance of the soul at all apart, but is only the temperature and
complexion of the body so disposed, that it has force and power to
understand and live?" But Socrates does not by these questions
overthrow human life, since all natural philosophers treat of the
same matter. But those perhaps are the monstrous questions and
inquiries that turn everything upside down, which are in Phaedrus,
(Plato, "Phaedrus," p. 230 A.) where he says, that every one ought
to examine and consider himself, whether he is a savage beast, more
cautelous, outrageous, and furious than ever was the monster
Typhon; or on the contrary, an animal more mild and gentle,
partaking by Nature of a certain divine portion, and such as is
free from pride. Now by these discourses and reasonings he
overturns not the life of man, but drives from it presumption and
arrogance, and those haughty and extravagant opinions and conceits
he has of himself. For this is that monster Typhon, which your
teacher and master has made to be so great in you by his warring
against the gods and divine men.

Having done with Socrates and Plato, he next attacks Stilpo.
Now as for those his true doctrines and good discourses, by which
he managed and governed himself, his country, his friends, and such
kings and princes as loved him and esteemed him, he has not written
a word; nor yet what prudence and magnanimity was in his heart,
accompanied with meekness, moderation, and modesty. But having
made mention of one of those little sentences he was wont in mirth
and raillery to object against the sophisters, he does, without
alleging any reason against it or solving the subtlety of the
objection, stir up a terrible tragedy against Stilpo, saying that
the life of man is subverted by him, inasmuch as he affirms that
one thing cannot be predicated of another. "For how," says he,
"shall we live, if we cannot style a man good, nor a man a captain,
but must separately name a man a man, good good, and a captain a
captain; nor can say ten thousand horsemen, or a fortified town,
but only call horsemen horsemen, and ten thousand ten thousand, and
so of the rest?" Now what man ever was there that lived the worse
for this? Or who is there that, hearing this discourse, does not
immediately perceive and understand it to be the speech of a man
who rallies gallantly, and proposes to others this logical question
for the exercise of their wits? It is not, O Colotes, a great and
dangerous scandal not to call any man good, or not to say ten
thousand horsemen; but not to call God God, and not to believe him
to be God,--as you and the rest do, who will not confess that there
is a Jupiter presiding over generation, or a Ceres giving laws, or
a Neptune nourishing the plants,--it is this separation of names
that is pernicious, and fills our life with audaciousness and an
atheistical contempt of the gods. When you pluck from the gods the
names and appellations that are tied to them, you abolish also the
sacrifices, mysteries, processions, and feasts. For to whom shall
we offer the sacrifices preceding the tilling of the ground?
To whom those for the obtaining of preservation? How shall we
celebrate the Phosphoria or torch-festivals, the Bacchanals, and
the ceremonies that go before marriage, if we admit neither
Bacchantes, gods of light, gods who protect the sown field, nor
preservers of the state? For this it is that touches the principal
and greatest points, being an error in things,--not in words, in
the structure of propositions, or use of terms.

Now if these are the things that disturb and subvert human life,
who are there that more offend in speech than you? For you take
utterly away the whole category of namable things, which constitute
the substance of language; and leave only words and their
accidental objects, while you take away in the meantime the things
particularly signfied by them, by which are wrought disciplines,
doctrines, preconceptions, intelligences, inclination, and assent,
which you hold to be nothing at all.

But as for Stilpo, thus his reasoning proceeds. "If of a man we
predicate good, and of an horse running, the predicate or thing
predicated is not the same with the subject or that of which it is
predicated, but the essential definition of man is one, and of good
another. And again, to be a horse differs from to be running.
For being asked the definition of the one and of the other, we do
not give the same for them both; and therefore those err who
predicate the one of the other. For if good is the same with man,
and to run the same with a horse, how is good affirmed also of food
and medicine, and again (by Jupiter) to run of a lion and a dog?
But if the predicate is different, then we do not rightly say that
a man is good, and a horse runs." Now if Stilpo is in this
exorbitant and grossly mistaken, not admitting any copulation of
such things as are in the subject, or affirmed of the subject, with
the subject itself; but holding that every one of them, if it is
not absolutely one and the same thing with that to which it happens
or of which it is spoken, ought not to be spoken or affirmed of it,
--no, not even as an accident; it is nevertheless manifest, that he
was only offended with some words, and opposed the usual and
accustomed manner of speaking, and not that he overthrew man's
life, and turned his affairs upside down.

Colotes, then, having got rid of the old philosophers, turns to
those of his own time, but without naming any of them; though he
would have done better either to have reproved by name these
moderns, as he did the ancients, or else to have named neither of
them. But he who has so often employed his pen against Socrates,
Plato, and Parmenides, evidently demonstrates that it is through
cowardice he dares not attack the living, and not for any modesty
or reverence, of which he showed not the least sign to those who
were far more excellent than these. But his meaning is, as I
suspect, to assault the Cyrenaics first, and afterwards the
Academics, who are followers of Arcesilaus. For it was these who
doubted of all things; but those, placing the passions and
imaginations in themselves, were of opinion that the belief
proceeding from them is not sufficient for the assuring and
affirming of things but, as if it were in the siege of a town,
abandoning what is without, they have shut themselves up in the
passions, using only it seems, and not asserting it is, of things
without. And therefore they cannot, as Colotes says of them, live
or have the use of things. And then speaking comically of them, he
adds: "These deny that there is a man, a horse, a wall; but say
that they themselves (as it were) become walls, horses, men," or
"take on the images of walls, horses, or men." In which he first
maliciously abuses the terms, as caluminators are usually wont to
do. For though these things follow from the sayings of the
Cyrenaics, yet he ought to have declared the fact as they
themselves teach it. For they affirm that things then become
sweet, bitter, lightsome, or dark, when each thing has in itself
the natural unobstructed operation of one of these impressions.
But if honey is said to be sweet, an olive-branch bitter, hail
cold, wine hot, and the nocturnal air dark, there are many beasts,
things, and men that testify the contrary. For some have an
aversion for honey, others feed on the branches of the olive-tree;
some are scorched by hail, others cooled with wine; and there are
some whose sight is dim in the sun but who see well by night.
Wherefore opinion, containing itself within these sensations,
remains safe and free from error; but when it goes forth and
attempts to be curious in judging and pronouncing concerning
exterior things, it often deceives itself, and opposes others,
who from the same objects receive contrary sensations and
different imaginations.

And Colotes seems properly to resemble those young children who are
but beginning to learn their letters. For, being accustomed to
learn them where they see them in their own horn-books and primers,
when they see them written anywhere else, they doubt and are
troubled; so those very discourses, which he praises and approves
in the writings of Epicurus, he neither understands nor knows
again, when they are spoken by others. For those who say that the
sense is truly informed and moulded when there is presented one
image round and another broken, but nevertheless permit us not to
pronounce that the tower is round and the oar broken, confirm their
own sensations and imaginations, but they will not acknowledge and
confess that the things without are so affected. But as the
Cyrenaics must say that they are imprinted with the figure of a
horse or of a wall, but refuse to speak of the horse or the wall;
so also it is necessary to say that the sight is imprinted with a
figure round or with three unequal sides, and not that the tower is
in that manner triangular or round. For the image by which the
sight is affected is broken; but the oar whence that image proceeds
is not broken. Since, then, there is a difference between the
sensation and the external subject, the belief must either remain
in the sensation, or else--if it maintains the being in addition to
the appearing--be reproved and convinced of untruth. And whereas
they cry out and are offended in behalf of the sense, because the
Cyrenaics say not that the thing without is hot, but that the
effect made on the sense is such; is it not the same with what is
said touching the taste, when they say that the thing without is
not sweet, but that some function and motion about the sense is
such? And for him who says that he has received the apprehension
of an human form, but perceives not whether it is a man, whence has
he taken occasion so to say? Is it not from those who affirm that
they receive an apprehension of a bowed figure and form, but that
the sight pronounces not that the thing which was seen is bowed or
round, but that a certain image of it is such? Yes, by Jupiter,
will some one say; but I, going near the tower or touching the oar,
will pronounce and affirm that the one is straight and the other
has many angles and faces; but he, when he comes near it, will
confess that it seems and appears so to him, and no more.
Yes, certainly, good sir, and more than this, when he sees and
observes the consequence, that every imagination is equally worthy
of belief for itself, and none for another; but that they are all
in like condition. But this your opinion is quite lost, that all
the imaginations are true and none false or to be disbelieved, if
you think that these ought to pronounce positively of that which is
without, but those you credit no farther than that they are so
affected. For if they are in equal condition as to their being
believed, when they are near or when they are far off, it is just
that either upon all of them, or else not upon these, should follow
the judgment pronouncing that a thing is. But if there is a
difference in the being affected between those that are near and
those that are far off, it is then false that one sense and
imagination is not more express and evident than another.
Therefore those they call attestations and counter-attestations are
nothing to the sense, but are concerned only with opinion. So, if
they would have us following these to pronounce concerning exterior
things, making being a judgment of opinion, and what appears an
affection of sense, they transfer the judicature from which is
totally true to that which often fails.

But how full of trouble and contradictions in respect of one
another these things are, what need is there to say at present?
But the reputation of Arcesilaus, who was the best beloved and most
esteemed of all the philosophers in his time, seems to have been no
small eyesore to Epicurus; who says of him that delivering nothing
peculiar to himself or of his own invention, he imprinted in
illiterate men the opinion and esteem of his being very knowing and
learned. Now Arcesilaus was so far from desiring any glory by
being a bringer-in of new opinions, and from arrogating to himself
those of the ancients, that the sophisters of that time blamed him
for attributing to Socrates, Plato, Parmenides, and Heraclitus the
doctrines concerning the retention of assent, and the
incomprehensibility of things; having no need so to do, but only
that he might strengthen them and render them recommendable by
ascribing them such illustrious personages. For this, therefore,
thanks to Colotes, and to every one who declares that the academic
doctrine was from a higher times derived to Arcesilaus. Now as for
retention of assent and the doubting of all things, not even those
who have much labored in the manner, and strained themselves to
compose great books and large treatises concerning it, were ever
able to stir it; but bringing at last out of the Stoa itself the
cessation from all actions, as the Gorgon to frighten away the
objections that came against them, they were at last quite tired
and gave over. For they could not, what attempts and stirs soever
they made, obtain so much from the instinct by which the appetite
is moved to act, as to suffer itself to be called an assent, or to
acknowledge sense for the origin and principle of its propension,
but it appeared of its own accord to present itself to act, as
having no need to be joined with anything else. For against such
adversaries the combat and dispute is lawful and just. And

Such words as you have spoke, the like you may
Expect to hear.
("Iliad," xx. 250.)

For to speak to Colotes of instinct and consent is, I suppose, all
one as to play on the harp before an ass. But to those who can
give ear and conceive, it is said that there are in the soul three
sorts of motions,--the imaginative, the appetitive, and the
consenting. As to the imaginative or the apprehension, it cannot
be taken away, though one would. For one cannot, when things
approach, avoid being informed and (as it were) moulded by them,
and receiving an impression from them. The appetite, being stirred
up by the imaginative, effectually moves man to that which is
proper and agreeable to his nature, just as when there is made a
propension. and inclination in the principal and reasonable part.
Now those who withhold their assent and doubt of all things take
not away this, but make use of the appetition or instinct naturally
conducting every man to that which seems convenient for him.
What, then, is the only thing that they shun? That in which is
bred falsehood and deceit,--that is, opining, and haste in giving
consent,--which is a yielding through weakness to that which
appears, and has not any true utility. For action stands in need
of two things, to wit, the apprehension or imagination of what is
agreeable to Nature, and the instinct or appetition driving to that
which is so imagined; of which, neither the one nor the other is
repugnant to the retention of assent. For reason withdraws us from
opinion, and not from appetition or imagination. When, therefore,
that which is delectable seems to us to be proper for us, there is
no need of opinion to move and carry us to it, but appetition
immediately exerts itself, which is nothing else but the motion and
inclination of the soul.

It is their own axiom, that a man must only have sense and be flesh
and blood and pleasure will appear to be good. Wherefore also it
will seem good to him who withholds his assent. For he also
participates of sense, and is made of flesh and blood, and as soon
as he has conceived an imagination of good, desires it and does all
things that it may not escape from him; but as much as possibly he
can, he will keep himself with that which is agreeable to his
nature, being drawn by natural and not by geometrical constraints.
For these goodly, gentle, and tickling motions of the flesh are,
without any teacher, attractive enough of themselves--even as these
men forget not to say--to draw even him who will not in the least
acknowledge and confess that he is softened and rendered pliable by
them. "But how comes it to pass," perhaps you will say, "that he
who is thus doubtful and withholds his assent hastens not away to
the mountain, instead of going to the bath? Or that, rising up to
go forth into the market-place, he runs not his head against the
wall, but takes his way directly to the door?" Do you ask this,
who hold all the senses to be infallible, and the apprehensions of
the imagination certain and true? It is because the bath appears
to him not a mountain, but a bath; and the door seems not a wall,
but a door; and the same is to be said of every other thing.
For the doctrine of retention does not pervert the sense, nor by
absurd passions and motions work in it an alteration disturbing the
imaginative faculty; but it only takes away opinions, and for the
rest, makes use of other things according to their nature.

But it is impossible, you will say, not to consent to things that
are evident; for to deny such things as are believed is more absurd
than neither to deny nor affirm. Who then are they that call in
question things believed, and contend against things that are
evident? They who overthrow and take away divination, who say that
there is not any government of Divine Providence, who deny the sun
and the moon--to whom all men offer sacrifices and whom they honor
and adore--to be animated. And do not you take away that which is
apparent to all the world, that the young are contained in the
nature of their parents? Do you not, contrary to the sense of all
men, affirm that there is no medium between pleasure and pain,
saying that not to be in pain is to be in the fruition of pleasure,
that not to do is to suffer, and that not to rejoice is to
be grieved?

But to let pass all the rest, what is more evident and more
generally believed by all men, than that those who are seized with
melancholy distempers, and whose brain is troubled and whose wits
are distracted, do, when the fit is on them and their understanding
altered and transported, imagine that they see and hear things
which they neither see nor hear? Whence they frequently cry out:--

Women in black arrayed bear in their hands,
To burn mine eyes, torches and fiery brands.

And again:--

See, in her arms she holds my mother dear.
(Euripides, "Iphigenia in Tauris," 289.)

These, and many other illusions more strange and tragical than
these,--resembling those mormos and bugbears which they themselves
laugh at and deride, as they are described by Empedocles to be,
"with sinuous feet and undeveloped hands, bodied like ox and faced
like man,"--with certain other prodigious and unnatural phantoms,
these men have gathered together out of dreams and the alienations
of distracted minds, and affirm that none of them is a deception of
the sight, a falsity, or inconsistence; but that all these
imaginations are true, being bodies and figures that come from the
ambient air. What thing then is there so impossible in Nature as
to be doubted of, if it is possible to believe such reveries as
these? For these men, supposing that such things as never any
mask-maker, potter, designer of wonderful images, or skilful and
all-daring painter durst join together, to deceive or make sport
for the beholders, are seriously and in good earnest existent,--
nay, which is more, affirming that, if they are not really so, all
firmness of belief, all certainty of judgment and truth, is forever
gone,--do by these their suppositions and affirmations cast all
things into obscurity, and bring fears into our judgments, and
suspicions into our actions,--if the things which we apprehend, do,
are familiarly acquainted with, and have at hand are grounded on
the same imagination and belief with these furious, absurd, and
extravagant fancies. For the equality which they suppose to be in
all apprehensions rather derogates from the credit of such as are
usual and rational, than adds any belief to those that are unusual
and repugnant to reason. Wherefore we know many philosophers who
would rather and more willingly grant that no imagination is true
than that all are so, and that would rather simply disbelieve all
the men they never had conversed with, all the things they had not
experimented, and all the speeches they had not heard with their
own ears, than persuade themselves that any one of these
imaginations, conceived by these frantic, fanatical, and dreaming
persons, is true. Since then there are some imaginations which
may, and others which may not be rejected, it is lawful for us to
retain our assent concerning them, though there were no other cause
but this discordance, which is sufficient to work in us a suspicion
of things, as having nothing certain and assured, but being
altogether full of obscurity and perturbation. For in the disputes
about the infinity of worlds and the nature of atoms and
individuums and their inclinations, although they trouble and
disturb very many, there is yet this comfort, that none of all
these things that are in question is near us, but rather every one
of them is far remote from sense. But as to this diffidence,
perplexity, and ignorance concerning sensible things and
imaginations, found even in our eyes, our ears, and our hands, what
opinion does it not shock? What consent does it not turn upside
down? For if men neither drunk, intoxicated, nor otherwise
disturbed in their senses, but sober, sound in mind, and
professedly writing of the truth and of the canons and rules by
which to judge it, do in the most evident passions and motions of
the senses set down either that which has no existence for true, or
that which is existent for false, it is not strange that a man
should be silent about all things, but rather that he assent to
anything; nor is it incredible that he should have no judgment
about things which appear, but rather that he should have contrary
judgments. For it is less to be wondered, that a man should
neither affirm the one nor the other but keep himself in a mean
between two opposite things, than that he should set down things
repugnant and contrary to one another. For he that neither affirms
nor denies, but keeps himself quiet, is less repugnant to him who
affirms an opinion than he who denies it, and to him who denies an
opinion than he who affirms it. Now if it is possible to withhold
one's assent concerning these things, it is not impossible also
concerning others, at least according to your opinion, who say that
one sense does not exceed another, nor one imagination another.

The doctrine then of retaining the assent is not, as Colotes
thinks, a fable or an invention of rash and light-headed young men
who please themselves in babbling and prating; but a certain habit
and disposition of men who desire to keep themselves from falling
into error, not leaving the judgment at a venture to such suspected
and inconstant senses, nor suffering themselves to be deceived by
those who hold that in doubtful matters things which do not appear
to the senses are credible and ought to be believed, when they see
so great obscurity and uncertainty in things which do appear.
But the infinity you assert is a fable, and so indeed are the
images you dream of: and he breeds in young men rashness and self-
conceitedness who writ of Pythocles, not yet eighteen years of age,
that there was not in all Greece a better or more excellent nature,
that he admirably well expressed his convictions, and that he was
in other respects behaved like a women,--praying that all these
extraordinary endowments of the young man might not work him hatred
and envy. But these are sophists and arrogant, who write so
impudently and proudly against great and excellent personages.
I confess indeed, that Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus and
Democritus contradicted those who went before them; but never durst
any man besides Colotes set forth with such an insolent title as
this against all at once.

Whence it comes to pass that, like to such as have offended some
Divinity, confessing his fault, he says thus towards the end of His
book: "Those who have established laws and ordinances and
instituted monarchies and other governments in towns and cities,
have placed human life in great repose and security and delivered
it from many troubles; and if any one should go about to take this
away, we should lead the life of savage beasts, and should be every
one ready to eat up one another as we meet." For these are the
very words of Colotes, though neither justly nor truly spoken.
For if any one, taking away the laws, should leave us nevertheless
the doctrines of Parmenides, Socrates, Plato, and Heraclitus, we
should be far from mutually devouring one another and leading the
life of beasts. For we should fear dishonest things, and should
for honesty alone venerate justice, the gods our superiors, and
magistrates, believing that we have spirits and daemons who are the
guardians and superintendents of human life, esteeming all the gold
that is upon and within the earth not to be equivalent to virtue;
and doing that willingly by reason, as Xenocrates says, which we
now do by force and through fear of the law. When then will our
life become savage, uncivilized, and bestial? When, the laws being
taken away, there shall be left doctrines inciting men to pleasure;
when the world shall bethought not to be ruled and governed by
Divine Providence; when those men shall be esteemed wise who spit
at honesty if it is not joined with pleasure; and when such
discourses and sentences as these shall be scoffed at
and derided:--

For Justice has an eye which all things sees;

and again:--

God near us stands, and views whate'er we do;

and once more: "God, as antiquity has delivered to holding the
beginning, middle, and end of the universe, makes a direct line,
walking according to Nature. After him follows Justice, a punisher
of those who have been deficient in their duties by transgressing
the divine law."

For they who contemn these things as if they were fables, and think
that the sovereign good of man consists about the belly, and in
those other passages by which pleasure is admitted, are such as
stand in need of the law, and fear, and stripes, and some king,
prince, or magistrate, having in his hand the sword of justice;
to the end that they may not devour their neighbors through their
gluttony, rendered confident by their atheistical impiety.
For this is the life of brutes, because brute beasts know nothing
better nor more honest than pleasure, understand not the justice of
the gods, nor revere the beauty of virtue; but if Nature has
bestowed on them any point of courage, subtlety, or activity, they
make use of it for the satisfaction of their fleshly pleasure and
the accomplishment of their lusts. And the sapient Metrodorus
believes that this should be so, for he says: "All the fine,
subtle, and ingenious inventions of the soul have been found out
for the pleasure and delight of the flesh, or for the hopes of
attaining to it and enjoying it, and every act which tends not to
this end is vain and unprofitable." The laws being by such
discourses and philosophical reasons as these taken away, there
wants nothing to a beast-like life but lions' paws, wolves' teeth,
oxen's paunches, and camels' necks; and these passions and
doctrines do the beasts themselves, for want of speech and letters,
express by their bellowings, neighings, and brayings, all their
voice being for their belly and the pleasure of their flesh, which
they embrace and rejoice in either present or future; unless it be
perhaps some animal which naturally takes delight in chattering
and garrulity.

No sufficient praise therefore or equivalent to their deserts can
be given those who, for the restraining of such bestial passions,
have set down laws, established policy and government of state,
instituted magistrates and ordained good and wholesome laws.
But who are they that utterly confound and abolish this? Are they
not those who withdraw themselves and their followers from all part
in the government? Are they not those who say that the garland of
tranquillity and a reposed life are far more valuable than all the
kingdoms and principalities in the world? Are they not those who
declare that reigning and being a king is a mistaking the path and
straying from the right way of felicity? And they write in express
terms: "We are to treat how a man may best keep and preserve the
end of Nature, and how he may from the very beginning avoid
entering of his own free will and voluntarily upon offices of
magistracy, and government over the people." And yet again, these
other words are theirs: "There is no need at all that a man should
tire out his mind and body to preserve the Greeks, and to obtain
from them a crown of wisdom; but to eat and drink well, O
Timocrates, without prejudicing, but rather pleasing the flesh."
And yet in the constitution of laws and policy, which Colotes so
much praises, the first and most important article is the belief
and persuasion of the gods. Wherefore also Lycurgus heretofore
consecrated the Lacedaemonians, Numa the Romans, the ancient Ion
the Athenians, and Deucalion universally all the Greeks, through
prayers, oaths, oracles, and omens, making them devout and
affectionate to the gods by means of hopes and fears at once.
And if you will take the pains to travel through the world, you may
find towns and cities without walls, without letters, without
kings, without houses, without wealth, without money, without
theatres and places of exercise; but there was never seen nor shall
be seen by man any city without temples and gods, or without making
use of prayers, oaths, auguries, and sacrifices for the obtaining
of blessings and benefits, and the averting of curses and
calamities. Nay, I am of opinion, that a city might sooner be
built without any ground to fix it on, than a commonweal be
constituted altogether void of any religion and opinion of the
gods,--or being constituted, be preserved. But this, which is the
foundation and ground of all laws, do these men, not going
circularly about, nor secretly and by enigmatical speeches, but
attacking it with the first of their most principal opinions.
directly subvert and overthrow; and then afterwards, as if they
were haunted by the Furies, they come and confess that they have
grievously offended in thus taking away the laws, and confounding
the ordinances of justice and policy, that they may not be capable
of pardon. For to err in opinion, though it be not the part of
wise men, is at least human; but to impute to others the errors and
offences they commit themselves, how can any one declare what it
is, if he forbears to give it the name it deserves?

For if, in writing against Antidorus or Bion the sophister, he had
made mention of laws, policy, order, and justice, might not either
of them have said to him, as Electra did to her mad
brother Orestes:--

Lie still at ease, poor wretch; keep in thy bed,
(Euripides, "Orestes," 258.)

and there cherish thy bit of body, leaving those to expostulate and
find fault with me who have themselves lived the life of a citizen
and householder? Now such are all those whom Colotes has reviled
and railed at in his book. Amongst whom, Democritus in his
writings advises and exhorts to the learning of the science of
politics, as being the greatest of all, and to the accustoming
one's self to bear fatigues, by which men attain to great wealth
and honor. And as for Parmenides, he beautified and adorned his
native country with most excellent laws which he there established,
so that even to this day the officers every year, when they enter
first on the exercise of their charges, are obliged to swear that
they will observe the laws and ordinances of Parmenides.
Empedocles brought to justice some of the principal of his city,
and caused them to be condemned for their insolent behavior and
embezzling of the public treasure, and also delivered his country
from sterility and the plague--to which calamities it was before
subject--by immuring and stopping up the holes of certain
mountains, whence there issued an hot south wind, which overspread
all the plain country and blasted it. And Socrates, after he was
condemned, when his friends offered him, if he pleased, an
opportunity of making his escape, absolutely refused to make use of
it, that he might maintain the authority of the laws, choosing
rather to die unjustly than to save himself by disobeying the laws
of his country. Melissus, being captain general of his country,
vanquished the Athenians in a battle at sea. Plato left in his
writings excellent discourses concerning the laws, government, and
policy of a commonweal; and yet he imprinted much better in the
hearts and minds of his disciples and familiars, which caused
Sicily to be freed by Dion, and Thrace to be set at liberty by
Pytho and Heraclides, who slew Cotys. Chabrias also and Phocion,
those two great generals of the Athenians, came out of the Academy.

As for Epicurus, he indeed sent certain persons into Asia to chide
Timocrates, and caused him to be removed out of the king's palace,
because he had offended his brother Metrodorus; and this is written
in their own books. But Plato sent of his disciples and friends,
Aristonymus to the Arcadians, to set in order their commonweal,
Phormio to the Eleans, and Menedemus to the Pyrrhaeans.
Eudoxus gave laws to the Cnidians, and Aristotle to the Stagirites,
who were both of them the intimates of Plato. And Alexander the
Great demanded of Xenocrates rules and precepts for reigning well.
And he who was sent to the same Alexander by the Grecians dwelling
in Asia, and who most of all inflamed and stimulated him to embrace
and undertake the war against the barbarian king of Persia, was
Delius the Ephesian, one of Plato's familiars. Zeno, the disciple
of Parmenides, having attempted to kill the tyrant Demylus, and
failing in his design, maintained the doctrine of Parmenides, like
pure and fine gold tried in the fire, that there is nothing which a
magnanimous man ought to dread but dishonor, and that there are
none but children and women, or effeminate and women-hearted men,
who fear pain. For, having with his own teeth bitten off his
tongue, he spit it in the tyrant's face.

But out of the school of Epicurus, and from among those who follow
his doctrine, I will not ask what tyrant-killer has proceeded, nor
yet what man valiant and victorious in feats of arms, what
lawgiver, what prince, what counsellor, or what governor of the
people; neither will I demand, who of them has been tormented or
has died for supporting right and justice. But which of all these
sages has for the benefit and service of his country undertaken so
much as one voyage at sea, gone of an embassy, or expended a sum of
money? What record is there extant of one civil action in matter
of government, performed by any of you? And yet, because
Metrodorus went down one day from the city as far as the haven of
Piraeus, taking a journey of forty stadia to assist Mithres a
Syrian, one of the king of Persia's court who had been arrested and
taken prisoner, he writ of it to every one and in all his letters,
Epicurus also highly magnifying and extolling this wonderful
voyage. What value then, think you, would they have put upon it,
if they had done such an act as Aristotle did, who procured the
restoration and rebuilding of Stagira, the town of his nativity,
after it had been destroyed by King Philip? Or as Theophrastus,
who twice delivered his city, when possessed and held by tyrants?
Would not the river Nile sooner have given over to bear the paper-
reed, than they have been weary of writing their brave exploits?

And it is not the greatest dishonor, that, of so many sects of
philosophers as have existed, they alone should enjoy the benefits
that are in cities, without having ever contributed to them
anything of their own; but far more serious is it that, while there
are not even any tragical or comical poets who do not always
endeavor to do or say some good thing or other in defence of the
laws and policy these men, if peradventure they write, write of
policy, that we may not concern ourselves in the government of the
commonweal,--of rhetoric, that we may not perform an act of
eloquence,--and of royalty, that we may shun the living and
conversing with kings. Nor do they ever name any of those great
personages who have intermeddled in civil affairs, but only to
scoff at them and abolish their glory. Thus they say that
Epaminondas had something of good, but that infinitesimal, or
[Greek omitted], for that is the very word they use. They moreover
call him iron-hearted, and ask what ailed him that he went marching
his army through all Peloponnesus, and why he did not rather keep
himself quiet at home with a garland on his head, employed only in
cherishing and making much of his body. But methinks I ought not
in this place to omit what Metrodorus writ in his book of
Philosophy, when, utterly abjuring all meddling in the management
of the state, he said thus: "Some, through an excess of vanity and
arrogance, have so deep a comprehension into the business of it,
that in discussing the precepts of good life and virtue, they allow
themselves to be carried away with the very same desires as were
Lycurgus and Solon." What is this? Was it then vanity and
abundance of vanity, to set free the city of Athens, to render
Sparta well-policied and governed by wholesome laws, that young men
might do nothing licentiously, nor get children upon common
courtesans and whores, and that riches, delights, intemperance, and
dissolution might no longer bear sway and have command in cities,
but law and justice? For these were the desires of Solon. To this
Metrodorus, by way of scorn and contumely, adds this conclusion:
"It is then very well beseeming a native born gentleman to laugh
heartily, as at other men, so especially at these Solons and
Lycurguses. "But such a one, O Metrodorus, is not a gentleman, but
a servile and dissolute person, and deserves to be scourged, not
with that whip which is for free-born persons, but with that
scourge made with ankle-bones, with which those eunuch sacrificers
called Galli were wont to be chastised, when they failed of
performing their duty in the ceremonies and sacrifices of the
Goddess Cybele, the great Mother of the Gods.

But that they made war not against the lawgivers but against the laws themselves, one may hear and understand from Epicurus. For in his questions, he asks himself, whether a wise man, being assured that it will not be known, will do anything that the laws forbid. To which he answers: "That is not so easy to settle simply,"--that is "I will do it indeed, but I am not willing to confess it."
And again, I suppose writing to Idomeneus, he exorts him not to make his life a slave to the laws or to the options of men, unless it be to avoid the trouble they prepare, by the scourge and chastisement, so near at hand. If those who abolish laws, governments, and polices of men subvert and destroy human life, and if Metrodorus and Epicurus do this, by dehorting and withdrawing their friends from concerning themselves in public affairs, by hating those who intermeddle in them, by reviling the first most wise lawgivers, and by advising contempt of the laws provided there is no fear and danger of the whip punishment. I do not see that Colotes has brought so many false accusations against the other philosophers as he has alleged and advanced true ones against the writings and doctrines of Epicurus.

END OF TEN------------



(See Plato, "Theaetetus," p. 149 B.)

For he would never have used the name of God in such a merry,
jesting manner, though Plato in that book makes Socrates several
times to talk with great boasting and arrogance, as he does now.
"There are many, dear friend, so affected towards me, that they are
ready even to snap at me, when I offer to cure them of the least
madness. For they will not be persuaded that I do it out of
goodwill, because they are ignorant that no god bears ill-will to
man, and that therefore I wish ill to no man; but I cannot allow
myself either to stand in a lie or to stifle the truth." (Ibid.
p. 151 C.) Whether therefore did he style his own nature, which was
of a very strong and pregnant wit, by the name of God,--as Menander
says, "For our mind is God," and as Heraclitus, "Man's genius is a
Deity"? Or did some divine cause or some daemon or other impart
this way of philosophizing to Socrates, whereby constantly
interrogating others, he cleared them of pride, error, and
ignorance, and of being troublesome both to themselves and to
others? For about that time there happened to be in Greece several
sophists; to these some young men paid great sums of money, for
which they purchased a strong opinion of learning and wisdom, and
of being stout disputants; but this sort of disputation spent much
time in trifling squabblings, which were of no credit or profit.
Now Socrates, using an argumentative discourse by way of a
purgative remedy procured belief and authority to what he said,
because in refuting others he himself affirmed nothing; and he the
sooner gained upon people, because he seemed rather to be
inquisitive after the truth as well as they, than to maintain his
own opinion.

Now, however useful a thing judgment is, it is mightily infected By
the begetting of a man's own fancies. For the lover is blinded
with the thing loved; and nothing of a man's own is so beloved as
is the opinion and discourse he has begotten. And the distribution
of children said to be the justest, in respect of discourses is the
unjustest; for there a man must take his own, but here a man must
choose the best, though it be another man's. Therefore he that has
children of his own, is a worse judge of other men's; it being
true, as the sophister said well, "The Eleans would be the most
proper judges of the Olympic games, were no Eleans gamesters."
So he that would judge of disputations cannot be just, if he either
seeks the bays for himself, or is himself antagonist to either of
the antagonists. For as the Grecian captains, when they were to
settle by their suffrages who had behaved himself the best, every
man of them voted for himself; so there is not a philosopher of
them all but would do the like, besides those that acknowledge,
like Socrates, that they can say nothing that is their own;
and these only are the pure uncorrupt judges of the truth. For as
the air in the ears, unless it be still and void of noise in
itself, without any sound or humming, does not exactly take sounds
so the philosophical judgment in disputations, if it be disturbed
and obstreperous within, is hardly comprehensive of what is said
without. For our familiar and inbred opinion will not allow that
which disagrees with itself, as the number of sects and parties
shows, of which philosophy--if she deals with them in the best
manner--must maintain one to be right, and all the others to be
contrary to the truth in their positions.

Furthermore, if men can comprehend and know nothing, God did justly
interdict Socrates the procreation of false and unstable
discourses, which are like wind-eggs, and did him convince others
who were of any other opinion. And reasoning, which rids us of the
greatest of evils, error and vanity of mind, is none of the least
benefit to us; "For God has not granted this to the Esculapians."
(Theognis, vs. 432,) Nor did Socrates give physic to the body;
indeed he purged the mind of secret corruption. But if there be
any knowledge of the truth, and if the truth be one, he has as much
that learns it of him that invented it, as the inventor himself.
Now he the most easily attains the truth, that is persuaded he has
it not; and he chooses best, just as he that has no children of his
own adopts the best. Mark this well, that poetry, mathematics,
oratory, and sophistry, which are the things the Deity forbade
Socrates to generate, are of no value; and that of the sole wisdom
about what is divine and intelligible (which Socrates called
amiable and eligible for itself), there is neither generation nor
invention by man, but reminiscence. Wherefore Socrates taught
nothing, but suggesting principles of doubt, as birth-pains, to

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